We meet Zinnia Grey, formerly ‘dying girl’ turned into intrepid multiverse Sleeping Beauty saver. She’s made a job (of sorts) out of jumping from one Sleeping Beauty story to another, trying to help each Aurora escape whatever evil they’re trapped within. In one passage, Harrow does what probably cost the MCU $$$ and some VFX artists their souls–flip through many different universes each with their own version of the Sleeping Beauty myth.
In the meanwhile, of course, she’s neglected her friends, her health, and her own story. And hence comes my first issue with this book, that we don’t get to really understand what’s going on with her and Charm, her best friend (and now princess girlfriend? princess wife? does that make her a queen?). Something happened, as she narrates in flashback, but we don’t know exactly what before we’re swept into a whole new world of fairy tales–that of Snow White and the seemingly Evil Queen. Who, of course, is less evil than you might think.
Also there’s some terrible His Dark Materials-esque “can’t stay in your not world for too long or everything collapses” sort of thing.
But you see? We completely skipped over one of the strongest elements of the first book (for me at least), the friendship of Zinnia and Charm. What all has happened in the intervening time? By the third arc, when we get some of the answers, it feels a bit like emotional tell, instead of emotional show. And that’s never a good thing.
One sad positive though–Zinnia remains who she is, terminally ill and all, with no real fairy tale endings to be found. It’s the whole theme of Happily For Now that I’m really digging!